Whilst experimenting with nanospheres and perfluorodecalin, a liquid used in the production of synthetic blood, researchers at Germanys University of Ulm have stumbled across a phenomenon that could ultimately help remove ozone-harming chemicals from the atmosphere. The perfluorodecalin, against all expectations, was taken up by a water-based suspension of 60 nm diameter polystyrene particles.
The scientists believe that this occurred because nanoscopic perfluorodecalin droplets became encapsulated by self-assembled polystyrene nanospheres. Perfluorodecalin has very similar properties to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the inert liquids that are known to destroy the Earths protective ozone layer. And the Ulm team reckons that aerosol particle-carrying water droplets or ice crystals in clouds may be able to collect up chlorofluorocarbons in the same way, eventually returning them harmlessly to Earth as rain, hail or snow.
"I realized that I had developed a useful model system for the simulation of microphysical processes in the stratosphere," Andrei Sommer of the University of Ulm told nanotechweb.org. "In particular, for [simulating] the very complicated interplay between cloud droplets, nanoscopic aerosols emitted by man-made and natural sources, and chlorofluorocarbons - the principal ozone killers."
Joanne Aslett | alfa
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